When Do Kids Start Reading?

Learning how to read is one of the most important things everyone should learn. Almost everybody learns how to read during their formative years from around 6-10 years old. However, this does not apply to all and parents are wondering at what age their children should be able to read.

Experts and researchers say that there is no specific age as to when the child should be able to read. Learning how to read does not automatically have a start date let alone becoming an expert in it. Learning how to read is more of a process rather than a definite time start. Moreover, every child has their own way and speed of learning so by this alone you cannot just say that your child should know how to read by age 6, for example. Rather, it is best to understand the stages of reading and the signals you should look for to be able to say that your child is making progress in reading.

kids readingThere are three divisions as to the reading stages:

Pre-reading stage

The pre-reading stage usually occurs from the early months of the child up to his fourth year. It is important to remember that these stages are not strict with the start and end dates. Some children still continue on to the pre-reading stage after celebrating their fifth birthday and this is totally normal.

The pre-reading stage is when the child starts to have an idea of the letters and their sounds based on how people use them. This is when they observe how a word is pronounced and how the words in a book look like. Teaching a child to read at this stage should be interactive and fun. Getting straight to learning to read is a no-no because at this stage, children are not yet prepared to have that rigor in learning. This is why it is encouraged that parents read books to them so they can get a closer look at what the letters and words look like as well as how they are pronounced.

You can know if your child is making progress if they start to recognize the book that you are reading. For sure, you can argue that they probably recognized the book, not by reading the title but by memorizing its appearance, but this still shows that the child has learned to associate words with things. This association is important because it is a preparatory stage for knowing the meaning behind the words.

Reading stage

This stage ranges from 6-10 years old, during the first years in grade school. During first grade, children are taught how to read, but this does not guarantee that everyone will learn. In first grade, your child will meet children who can already read on their own and some who do not have a background in reading. If your child still does not know how to read, you do not have to worry as they still have enough time to learn.

Nonetheless, if they continue not knowing how to read even when they reach the second grade, they might fall behind the class. If your children are home schooled, this won’t be a problem because they won’t be with other people. But during these years, your child should be able to reach milestones like: being able to read short and simple stories, correctly recognize sounds to their letters, memorize the alphabet, being able to write words.

If your child still does not know how to those things, then you might want to consult with their teacher and a speech pathologist to be able to identify the cause as to their slow or inability to learn how to read and write. Having a support system for a child can greatly help and encourage them to read. These experts could give insights and exercises that would help them recognize letters, words, and eventually, sentences.

Reading with learning stage

This stage, although not the last, is when your child is able to retain and understand the information they are reading. This is also relative to what your child reads. He or she should be able to understand fiction and non-fiction books as well as short articles. Their vocabulary should have at least grown during this stage. This stage usually starts at age 11 onwards.

The learning stage develops as the child grows because they would have acquired more experience and exposure in reading to be able to get used to the pattern of words and their meanings. During this stage, you can also encourage them to learn how to read fast which, is a skill to a few people. As a tip to parents, it is not advisable to always force your child to read even during this stage. Just because your child knows how to read does not mean they retain the information. If they are forced to do so, they will be more discouraged to read and see it as a boring activity. To avoid this, parents should allow their children to develop learning through reading at their own pace.

Find a comprehensive selection of great kids reading material in our books category here.

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